Even though I don’t talk about it much here, because it doesn’t tend to have much relevance to what I blog about (ironically?), I love drawing. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I even give drawings to my friends and family as gifts for holidays sometimes. But in the past decade or so I have repeatedly gotten into extremely bad art slumps that lead to me quitting on numerous occasions either for a few months or over a year or more at a time.
‘Why bother? My art sucks. I’m nowhere near the level of people who have a fraction of my experience or people who are half my age.’
That is the main thought I have whenever I drop my art. Currently, I am in a ‘dropped’ phase of my art, as you can probably see from my ghost town dArt page. I haven’t drawn anything worth a crap in months and I haven’t uploaded anything since 2016. I’ve had to force myself to draw a few times in these months, and I haven’t been happy with any of it.
I used to draw religiously every single day. I used to draw so much that I ruined my mattress from wearing it out because I used to spend hours of every day drawing while sitting on the corner of my bed. I’d draw anything I wanted whenever I wanted and I loved it. When I started getting on the Internet, I eventually bought a scanner and then a tablet to put my artwork online.
While I have gotten plenty of good feedback, I have also gotten my share of bad responses. I’m the type of person who over-exaggerates negatives while downplaying the positives. These negative responses never hindered me enough to quit drawing. Definitely put me in a bad mood, but never outright quit.
You are your own worst critic, as they say. As I reached my late teens and started having ‘issues’ for lack of a better term, I found myself getting increasingly depressed about my artwork. Despite working for years and years on my drawings, I’d keep seeing people online or even artwork shown in fairs that would drive me down.
A beautiful, realistic and detailed drawing of a deer in a field that I could maybe hope to achieve years in the future with much more practice.
Done by someone aged nine.
A gorgeous, expansive, intricate landscape with creative ideas and unique designs.
The description says it’s ‘just a quick doodle’.
A hilarious comic with stylized artwork and wonderful formatting and comedic timing.
“Hey guys, I just decided to start doing comics. This is my first one. What do you think?”
A fun, slick digital painting of a sports car that looks so good you feel you could ride in it.
“Eh, I’m not all that happy with this one, but I just threw it together in an hour so it’s alright.”
I am so happy for each and every person who finds something they’re good at and runs with it. I am also not under the mindset that talent alone, without hard work, is worth much. But it is always such a massive punch in the face to me whenever I see amazing artwork and my internal voice says something along the lines of “Wow, I’ll never be able to do that.” or “Over twenty years of practice, and I can’t do anything nearly that good. Why bother?”
I can’t respond to that question when I ask myself that. Why bother? Why would I bother? Why would I go through hours of hard work and frustration just to make something that’s, at best, okay? Why would I continue with my crappy artwork when so many people out there do so much better, even if they’re much younger than me or have much less experience? If even the artists themselves describe some of their beautiful works as ‘doodles’ and ‘something I threw together’, what does that make my work? Total garbage I wasted hours, days, even weeks on?
I used to want to make animations and comics, but I never did much with those ideas because I kept getting into the ‘Why bother?’ slump. I’m still in one of those slumps. A bad one. So why am I even writing this blog post?
A useful therapeutic technique for beating negative inner voices is trying to talk to yourself like you would to a friend or family member who is hearing those same things. Most people wouldn’t talk to themselves as they would someone else. If your friend said ‘My artwork sucks. It’s nowhere near as good as millions of other artists. Why bother even continuing?’ I doubt you’d respond with ‘Yeah, you’re right. Your art is garbage. You should quit.’ Unless you’re going the route of reverse psychology, which is an iffy road to say the least, and really doesn’t work when applying it to yourself.
This obviously isn’t an end-all solution. Convincing yourself that what you’re saying is true, in a positive sense, can be very difficult. You’re basically trying to pump up your positive inner voice to beat your negative inner voice in a boxing match while your negative inner voice has metal spiked gloves with flamethrowers and your positive one has plastic bags filled with go-gurt.
Don’t you want to see how good you could be? Even if you can’t see the top of the stairs, don’t you want to at least say you made it up a few more steps? Despite me being down on myself and my work, I can’t deny that I’ve definitely gotten better over time. I look back at pictures I made as a kid and I want to just throw them all away. (Upside-down house head was a common affliction to my characters. Terrible disease) but I don’t because they’re important to me and they’re reminders that I have improved a lot.
The point is, I really wish I hadn’t quit all those times because I missed out on a lot of improvement and learning. I missed out on the fun I could’ve had wrestling with a new drawing and finally finishing it. I just flatout missed out. I’m still missing out. You should always aim to improve and be open to constructive criticism, but comparing yourself to others, in basically anything, is frequently a detriment to your growth in that area.
You could say striving to be as good as other people inspires you to improve, which might be true for some people, but, and this might seem silly, look at shows like DBZ and Yugioh. Characters like Kaiba and Vegeta worked their asses off to get better than one particular person and, during that time, aforementioned rival also improved a great deal, meaning the gap between them either stayed the same or barely moved even a little. (Some exceptions apply)
In both situations, despite them both becoming awesome and powerful in their own right, they basically relegated themselves to never achieving true victory over their rival, though not for lack of trying. Both still very much enjoy trying to achieve victory to the very end of their series.
I suppose the difference here is that those people do have intense confidence in themselves already. Their defeats and constant reminders that they’re not as skilled as someone else just drives them to improve more and more in the hopes that they can beat their rival and finally earn their ‘rightful’ title as the best. In some circumstances, they want to earn that title just so they can see how their rival will turn around and try to get it back. It’s a passion fueled by competition.
Going into this same situation with a negative attitude basically sets you up for a fall and creates the ‘why bother?’ response. You no longer look to these rivals as hurdles you need to jump over, but instead as walls you’ll crash into. You don’t appreciate your own improvement anymore because you’re surrounded by walls. Why bother getting excited over going a few more steps when there’s probably a wall at the top?
It’s more cliches, but there is always someone better, and, realistically, you’re likely always better than someone else. That’s not meant to be cruel to others or to build your confidence on the downfall of others, it’s just a fact if we’re meant to take the first part of that statement as truth. It may be in different areas, mediums, styles, or even just one incredibly small thing like using a color better than others, but it’s true. I don’t believe in people being the absolute worst or the absolute best at something. There’s always room for growth and improvement, and as long as you’re trying there’s always quality to your work.
Even if you feel surrounded by walls, what’s stopping you from grabbing a grappling hook and climbing the wall? Batman does that.
What’s stopping you from bursting through the wall? The Kool-Aid man does that.
Okay, you probably want to strive to be Batman over the Kool-Aid man….Though he does survive all of those crashes without a scratch despite being a glass pitcher. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
Just like there’s a point in this post somewhere.
Another anime I’m reminded of is Chihayafuru. In it, the main character, Chihaya, falls in love with the game of karuta. Seeing the passion for the game in her friend, Ayata’s, eyes spurred a similar fire in her heart for it.
But she absolutely couldn’t hold a single candle to Ayata when they first played. Ayata was a card chucking ninja robot and Chihaya couldn’t do a thing. That is until she managed to get one card before he did. Just one. She lost horribly, but she was so happy just to get that one card. She worked harder and harder to improve over the years, even if interest in the game was extremely low in her school and her friends had drifted apart. She didn’t work her butt off to slam victory over Ayata’s head or anything, she did it because the game made her happy and reminded her of how much she and her friends used to love playing together.
A favorite of mine in regards to breaking out of regular ‘I have no inspiration’ slumps is the ‘just draw’ approach. Scribble, doodle, make random lines, just draw something, anything, and it can lead to a great idea.
It’s a common practice in writing too. Just write whatever you want, not taking grammar, spelling, etc. into consideration and eventually you’ll stumble upon something you want to write about in a more clear-cut manner. If not for the goal of drawing, writing, building, sculpting etc. something you think will be a great masterpiece, at the very least it will be something you’ll hopefully enjoy making. I miss the enjoyment I’d get out of just sitting on my bed drawing and not caring who thought my drawings were good besides me.
Art, in any form, is as much personal as it is something to share with others. It’s an expression of yourself in small and large ways. It should always be something for you far before it becomes something for other people. Who cares if you’re not on the same level as someone else, no matter the difference in age or experience? Who cares if some people seem blasé about their astounding works of art when you work your ass off to crank out something that doesn’t breathe the same air as that artwork? Who cares if only a few people see it?
Being so critical of yourself can actually be a good thing. If you’re able to see all of the negative aspects of something you’ve made, you can pinpoint these problems and know exactly where you need to focus your work. I remember looking up lineart tutorials because I thought about how crappy my lines always looked. They’re still not great, in fact it’s still fairly sloppy, but they’re better.
Your artwork, no matter the medium, is yours and yours alone. No one can take that from you. As long as you have a desire to learn, grow, improve and, most of all, have fun doing it, that should be all you need to continue.
As I said before, it can be very difficult to convince yourself that what you’re saying is true, especially in a positive sense. I’m saying this entire blog post to myself as much as I am to you. I doubt I’ll sit down and actually draw something after I hit ‘save’ or ‘publish’, and I doubt that nagging negative inner voice won’t flamethrower through my brain as I attempt to even try to pick up a pencil or plug in my tablet, but hopefully I’ll feel a little more compelled to doodle or something some time in the near future.
Honestly, I didn’t start writing this with the hopes or intentions of breaking numerous people out of their negative thoughts about their artwork. I didn’t even intend to give myself a pep talk. I just felt the desire to write this, so I did.
Is it any good? I don’t know. I did my best, and that’s all I can hope to do. Will this help anybody? I hope so, but who knows?
I will say one thing, though. I’m glad I wrote it.
Two Unique Blogger Awards? But that means there are two of them….and thus, not unique. Am I not unique? Is there another FiddleTwix out there somewhere?…..My username’s been taken before, so probably. Is nothing unique? Are we all just clones? Copies? Dopplegangers?! Was 11Eyes right!? It–….oh sorry. I gotta stop having existential crises when blogging.
I’ve been nominated for two Unique Blogger Awards! 😀 The first one was by Shadowcat99 of Exploring the World of Anime and Manga, and the second was from Jenn of Welcome to Hell Zone. Thank you both very much for the nominations, and if you haven’t yet, check out their blogs. They both have a lot of prime, nutritious, grade A blog posts for you. Go on and read their stuff. I’ll wait.
Alright, let’s get started!
The Rules (copy pasted)
- Display Award
- Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
- Answer questions they’ve written for you.
- In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 bloggers and asks them 3 questions.
Let’s start with Shadowcat99’s questions.
1 – If you could strike anything from existence; person, place or thing, what would it be?
That’s a tough one. I’d probably have to say cancer. I’ve lost nearly all of my grandparents to lung and throat cancer, and I’ve lost several other loved ones to it. The suffering it causes everyone involved is just catastrophic. If I had to place a close second, it would be cigarettes/tobacco, for obvious reasons.
2 – What’s is the funniest new years resolution you have ever heard?
I don’t really hear too many New Year’s resolutions, to be honest. Most people I know either don’t make them or they do the obvious ones like lose weight, travel, learn a new language etc. I do recall reading someone online posting something like ‘I resolve to start doing the resolution I made in 2016, which I meant to start in 2015, forgot to do in 2014 and was too lazy to do in 2013.” I thought that was kinda funny.
3 – Who was your biggest hero growing up, not now unless it hasn’t changed, but when you were a kid?
In a fictional sense, The Power Rangers. Corny as they may be, they were my heroes. They supported each other, helped each other out without question, were always doing good deeds and doing whatever it took to save the world.
In a realistic sense, my parents. They always were working their asses off to give me and my sister as good a life as they could. No matter how tired they were or how emotionally drained they were, they always had time to help us, play with us and take care of us.
Now for Jenn’s questions!
1 – If you were to blog about a different subject other than what you blog about now, what would it be?
Horror movies. I’ve mentioned that I started doing reviews long ago on an old defunct Pokemon forum (which then transferred several members to a new Pokemon forum, which I helped moderate). Well, I branched off into live action movie reviews after a little while, and that eventually lead me into reviewing horror movies. I never reviewed them nearly as much as I did anime, and I rarely review them now, but I still really love horror movies and love writing about them.
As a side note, I’d love to review comics, but that’s way too huge of a pool for me to jump into.
2 – What’s the scariest movie/anime/tv show/etc you’ve ever seen?
Serious answer – The original Halloween. The ambiance, Michael’s black eyes and emotionless white mask, the tension increasing every passing second. It’s a fantastic work of horror.
Silly answer – the first Halloween special of Family Matters where that Urkel puppet shows up. Laugh if you will, but that is just a screwed up piece of television that honestly gave me nightmares for years.
3 – Have you ever watched a movie/anime/tv show/etc that reminded you of home?
That’s an interesting question. Does this refer to home as in hometown feeling/my house or my family? I’ll answer in both ways. Most recently I watched Summer Wars, which doesn’t really have a family similar to mine, but did remind me of my family a lot. While my extended family is rather large with both of my parents having numerous siblings with their own children, plus estranged family members due to divorces and whatnot, unlike Summer Wars, hardly any of us talk to each other. While watching that movie, I was frequently reminded of all of my aunts, uncles, cousins and such and wished that we had that sort of family.
In terms of homes or hometown feelings, I’d have to go with Air. I don’t really know why. There’s just something about it. Other than living in a small town, the area in which I live and grew up doesn’t seem anything like the area where Air takes place. There’s just something warm and homey about the setting and the relationships between the characters.
1 – What anime or cartoon character have you most related to and why?
2 – What’s your favorite way to waste time?
3 – What little things in life make your day much better?
Nominees: I hope I’m catching people who haven’t done the award yet. No pressure if you want to do it or not– you deserve the award anyway 😀
Merry Christmas, everyone! 🙂
I hope everyone has a happy, safe and wonderful holiday! And for those about to be hit with same storm we are, bundle up, have some cocoa, relax with some Christmas music and curse the people of a utopian future who will never have to shovel.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ *Hugs* ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Hello everyone! I hope your holiday season is treating you well. You may have noticed that AVAHS, which I’ve been proud of to get one post out per day of, has been halted for a few days. The reason for that is Windows, and I think I don’t need to say anything else because fucking Windows, but I’ll elaborate.
I was in the middle of watching Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas but it was late at night and Windows wanted to update for the umpteenth time. It had been having trouble updating lately (got to around 61% then would shut the computer off) but this time the update was going through. I leave the computer on all night because the installation is taking forever.
The next morning, I check the computer and it seems like all is well until I actually log in to my account where I see all my files are gone. I think the computer must’ve suffered a horrible crash when it updated or something, but for some reason several of my manually installed third-party programs were still there. Nevertheless, I panic, because it’s been months since I’ve done a backup and I had nearly 200 GB worth of stuff gone, including a bunch of of yet-to-be-posted blog posts and reviews. I start to do recovery processes with Recuva, but it’s not finding anything worthwhile, which makes me even more upset (and confused because, unless something went massively wrong, the data should not have been overwritten). I was especially annoyed at the loss of my Firefox profile because that’s basically my main means of organizing my anime/cartoon/etc. watch list (good idea, I know).
I use a different program, UnDelete, which actually shows that my C: drive is at roughly the same storage amount as it was pre-update, which obviously confuses me greatly. I snoop around my C: drive and find that Windows, for some stupid reason and without notifying me, had taken all of the files from my last user profile, moved them and had made a new user profile folder that it was now using for the same and only user account I had on my computer. And it wasn’t like there was a new account at the sign-in screen, either. I still only had one account, but now there were two profiles in the users folder.
So, despite a rage flareup at Windows 10 being a massive shithead, I calm down because at least almost all of my files were still here – even my Firefox profile, which, thankfully, saves in AppData in the user folder.
That doesn’t mean the problems ended, though. Other things were borked after the update. My fonts were screwed up, making everything look like it it was channeling Windows 98 and most of my taskbar wasn’t working. Start menu, search bar, Cortana, my notifications, right click, none of it. Also, certain functions like Settings and stuff would not launch.
I spend hours trying numerous methods of fixing it, to no avail, so I was forced to reset/restore my computer to factory settings, though thank God Windows 10 isn’t complete garbage and actually offers you the option to save your files from deletion – just the programs and settings are deleted and reset. I backed up my files anyway because I was gonna either way and because who can trust that it won’t delete them?
Everything seems okay now, just have to redownload and configure my programs. AVAHS should be returning either tonight or tomorrow, and I’ll be adding on an extra week to make up for lost time.
TL;DR – Computers are grinches who want to ruin my Christmas blogging. I’m okay now.
Plot: The muppets spend Christmas at Fozzie’s mother’s house.
Breakdown: It’s December! Which mea–
Elephant: Muppets still aren’t technically animatio–
Still don’t care! It’s time for A Very Animated Holiday Special, where we watch and review as many holiday specials as we can get our hands on over the month of December! And I have a bit of a request for you all. If there’s an animated holiday special or movie you’d like me to review, feel free to ask and I will do my best to gift wrap it for you. I am particularly interested in any winter holiday specials that aren’t Christmas, because I’m kinda hard up for some variety. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, etc. Throw ‘em at me.
And now to today’s presentation – A Muppet Family Christmas! Made in 1987, this is a very simple special where the muppets all spend Christmas at Fozzie’s mother’s house. She was going to go on a tropical vacation for Christmas, and she was about to rent out her place for the holidays to some guy named Doc who wanted to spend Christmas alone with his dog, Sprocket.
Contrary to what you may think, it’s really not a plot point that these three have their holidays barged in on by the muppets. Doc is a bit perturbed at first, as is Fozzie’s mother, but they quickly just accept it and enjoy a happy holiday together.
Besides that, Miss Piggy is stuck in the city, trying to get to the house through a blizzard, which is something I’m completely uninterested in because I don’t like Miss Piggy.
And we have the ongoing trials and tribulations of the Swedish Chef doing everything in his power to murder a bird for dinner (he even targeted Big Bird. D:)
The other 35 minutes of this 47 minute long movie are mostly made up of the muppets singing practically every Christmas song known to man throughout the movie.
The movie is a bit bogged down by a load of Christmas carols, but it’s still pretty entertaining in its own right. There are several heartwarming and funny moments that put you in the Christmas mood. Even if I am confused as to why Doc seems so weirded out by the muppets at first when Sprocket is a muppet….Also, I’d like a tad more Gonzo and Rizzo, but that’s just my bias.
The entirety of the muppet gang is here for the holidays, not just Kermit and the gang. We also get joined by the Sesame Street crew and even the Fraggles. Including them all truly makes this feel like a big family Christmas gathering. I especially liked a joke where Doc was talking with Bert and Ernie and they kept saying the words he was saying started with specific letters. When he asked them what they were doing, they said that counted as small talk where they were from. I just thought that was a hilarious bit of pseudo-meta humor.
Jim Hensen makes a cameo at the very end if you want to finish off this lighthearted Christmas story with a bittersweet reminder that he is no longer with us. Thanks for giving us a little Christmas magic, Jim.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And for those not in the US, damn you lucky bastards for not having to spend half the day cooking! I mean, I’m thankful for all of you. Ironically, this place and you guys all help keep me sane. ❤
So, remember, be thankful, be kind and eat in moderation to avoid a stomach ache. I’m prepared an example gif of proper Thanksgiving eating habits below.
Notice how Kirby is being mindful to keep his elbows off the table, and he is refraining from talking with his mouth full. His area is also clean and tidy, and he’s not chewing so he can eat faster and get back to having meaningful conversations with his family. Now that’s a true Thanksgivinger!
From all of….me at the Anime Madhouse, have a great Thanksgiving! 🙂
Hey guys! It’s time to go over last month’s poll results!
November is going to have marathoned blog posts, meaning every two days or so, a new entry will be added to one specific series of mine instead of once every week and half-ish like I have been going. Other series will be updated along the way, but the main focus will be on one specific series.
At the beginning of October, I started a poll asking you guys which series you’d most like to see me focus on, and the results are in.
And the winner is Pokemon Episode Analyses!
Thanks for voting, everyone! Here’s to Poke-vember!
Episode 3: The Crow Children
Plot: A young girl named Sae is on her way to visit her grandma for the first time with her mother when they meet a creepy old lady dressed in black that the local children call ‘the crow lady’.
Breakdown: I would’ve guessed this was a spin-off to Children of the Corn when first looking at that title.
This episode’s a bit on the predictable side and doesn’t really get at all creepy or scary until the final 30 seconds or so, which is a bit ironic because this is one of those stories that just ends in a moral and not anyone being perpetually tortured, going crazy or dying. That was a welcome twist considering the main character of this story is a cute little girl.
It’s definitely not the scariest or creepiest entry, and they even throw in a jump scare near the end, but I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.
The art is back to the way it was in episode one, which is nice, but the episode also clearly has much less animation than most other episodes, if that was even possible.
Episode 4: Copycat
Plot: Haru is a young woman who just finished her college orientation. She’s surprised to find that her old childhood friend, Yukari, has also gotten into the same school as her. Yukari always copied everything that she did. Wore the same clothes, bought the same things, pursued the same dreams. It was flattering and fun throughout childhood, but as you get older, you need to develop your own personal identity. What happens when someone’s personal identity is yours?
Breakdown: This is, I believe, our first story that isn’t inherently supernatural. It is really just a story about a crazy friend who is doing everything in their power to copy someone else. The twist at the very end is what throws you for a loop.
One of the main aspects about this story that sits uncomfortably with people is that I’m certain many people have, at one point, had a friend with similar traits to Yukari. I’ve even been in a somewhat similar situation. It’s very awkward to deal with a friend that you do really like but is either intensely clingy or is trying to do everything you do to be just like you. You know trying to talk to them about it, even kindly, will likely hurt their feelings, but eventually everyone hits their breaking point.
Yukari does reach that boiling point of incredible annoyance, which is quickly offset by her insane creepiness. She is dead set on copying Haru as much as humanly possible.
….And I’ll just leave it at that line.